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NBA: Mavericks vs Timberwolves | 22 December, 9:00 am (PST)

Mary C

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In the previous ten years, the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers have both competed for and won championships, but they have hardly ever both been successful at the same time. Between 2014-2015 and 2017-2018, LeBron James guided the Cleveland Cavaliers to four consecutive NBA Finals while they engaged in a fierce rivalry with the Golden State Warriors. Cleveland and James’ Los Angeles Lakers team were tied for the second-worst record in the League while Central Division opponents Milwaukee rose to prominence with the NBA’s best record during Giannis Antetokounmpo’s first MVP season. Since then, the Bucks have held sway over the division and are once again in front of the Eastern Conference with a 22-8 record through 30 games. 

However, the Cavaliers, who are 21-11 and have won four straight games before visiting the Bucks on Wednesday, are suddenly posing a challenge. Cleveland has gotten going again following a trade for Donovan Mitchell that they think will make them a significant participant in the East after they previously demonstrated significant progress by making it to the play-in tournament last year. 

That appears to be the case thus far as Mitchell leads the team in scoring with a career-high 29.3 points per game, enough for eighth place in the NBA, and has excelled in critical games against Boston Celtics. The Bucks, who will be eager to sweep their division opponents before Christmas, are 0-2 versus the Cavs this year compared to the Celtics, who are now in second place. 

In their hopes of defeating the Bucks, the Cavaliers will rely on Allen’s physicality. He has only played 12 minutes versus Milwaukee so far this season; he missed the first game and left the second one due to injury after scoring just one point. Allen was averaging 14.9 points and 9.3 rebounds since asking a comeback from the hip ailment earlier this month, including 26 rebounds in his last two games.

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